By Sunny Simon

It was a magical evening. After dinner we walked over to The Mirage for The Terry Fator Show. Upon our arrival a hostess informed me the six of us would be seated in second row center and not the seats we originally purchased. I was in shock knowing this was purely random as no one in my party held any kind of high roller status. A surprise offering like this never happened to me except once when American Airlines asked me if I would mind sitting in first class. Who was I to question how the gods of unexpected free upgrades select their targets? Giving the usher my most gracious smile while my husband attended to a gratuity, our happy party strutted all the way to our VIP seats.

Before long I was so mesmerized with the performance I actually forgot Fator, who according to Wikipedia is capable of doing over 100 impressions, was the voice behind the entire show. It wasn’t until much later I thought about the how many hours this ace ventriloquist logged honing his craft and playing the back stages of local state fairs before he finally hit the big time. Seeing the show up close may have been luck on my part, but Fator’s command of the spotlight had little to do with luck.

I was curious about Terry’s life before he was catapulted to success when named the million dollar winner of American’s Got Talent. My research revealed a winning combination of three factors I’ve dubbed Fator Factors.

Prior to his initial gig at a church picnic, Fator learned the art of ventriloquism meant practice, practice, practice. Fator Factor Number One: Discipline. No doubt when the other kids headed to the park with gloves, balls and bats, Terry remained home in front of his mirror with the Willie Talk dummy he purchased from Sears.

Fator Factor Number Two: Resilience. Years of performing at small venues with low exposure meant exercising his resilience muscle. Terry admits the lowest part of his career was playing at a 1,000 seat theatre with a paid audience of one. Hitting rock bottom means getting back up for another round.

Fator Factor Number Three: Support. When Terry hit his late thirties, he almost quit. It was his family who encouraged him to keep going.

If you are determined to achieve your milestone, role model the Fator Factors. Stay disciplined and practice resilience. Regarding number three, you may not have a supportive family, but I guarantee you have people in your life who will cheer you on.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at


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